Chu people considered themselves descendants of the legendary emperor Gaoyang from prehistory times. During the reign of the Chengwang emperor from the Zhou dynasty, Xiong Yi founded a state in the land of Chu and set capital in Danyan (present-day Xichuan county of Henan province), using unyielding efforts to make his state strong and prosperous. During the Spring and Autumn period, the Chu state annexed some 40 states in basins of the Han and Huai rivers and King Zhuangwang once conquered Jin and Zheng states and dominated the Central Plain. The solid national strength and pluralistic traditions gave birth to the characteristic Chu culture. The Danshui and Xishui river basin was where the Chu culture originated, enjoying a great wealth of cultural heritages left over by Chu people. Bronze wares excavated here from Chu tombs of the Spring and Autumn period are famed for magnificent designs and superb techniques, exhibiting exceptional and time-honored charm of Chu culture.
Part1 Food Containers
Food containers constituted a major type of ritual objects in the pre-Qin period, mostly used at banquets or sacrificial ceremonies. In the middle era of the Spring and Autumn period, Chu people broke out of the confines of the Zhou style and developed characteristic bronze food containers with innovative design and diverse forms, especially Ding.
Bronze Ding made by Wang Zi Wu
Part2 Wine Vessels
Wine ceremonies were an important part of ritual activities of banquets and sacrifices in the Zhou dynasty. Wine vessels were an indispensable part of ritual objects. In the Spring and Autumn period, bronze wine vessels made in the Chu state include square pot, round pot, Zunfou and He.
Bronze Jin with cloud design
Part3 Water Vessels
Bronze water vessels were mostly used for hand and body washing to be prepared fo ritual ceremonies in order to show piety and respect, Bronze water containers can be Jian,Fou bathtub, water dish and Yi (water filler).
Bronze Fou with inscriptions
Part4 Music Instruments
Of all the eight music instruments, bronze bell was the most important and popular. Of all the states, Chu people were the most enthusiastic lovers of music. The chime bells decorated with design of nine dragons were enshrined by kings of Chu as the symbol of nation and power. Noblemen of the Chu state had chime bells as funeral objects to highlight their status.
Bronze hells with inscriptions of Wang Sun Gao
Part5 Weapons,Chariot Parts and Miscellaneous Objects
The Spring and Autumn period was a time of war among vassal states. At that time, The Chu state was able to produce finely-made weapons with great lethality and well-designed chariot parts. Advanced weapons guaranteed victory and leading chariot-making technology made it possible to expand territories and conduct cultural exchanges.
Bronze Ge(dagger-axe)with inscriptions of Wang Sun Gao